Authored by J. Koyano, Symantec employee
Feel like you need a vacation? If you’re lucky enough to be heading off for some R&R, you know that vacations are an exciting, happy time to get away from the everyday worries of home. Unfortunately some of those worries may follow you if you are traveling with mobile devices that aren’t secured physically or digitally.
Apart from adding stress to your vacation, losing your smartphone or laptop while traveling could increase your risk of identity theft due to having personal data fall into the wrong hands. Once that happens, your vacation will pretty much be ruined. So here are five tips to help the data on your mobile devices stay safe during your vacation:
1. Install passwords/passcodes on mobile devices before leaving home
Doing this is your first line of defense while on vacation. In the event that your laptop or phone is left unattended, lost or stolen, a would-be criminal will have a much harder time getting into your device if there’s a password lock set. Doing this is simple and takes little time.
2. Turn off automatic Bluetooth connectivity
Bluetooth on your cellphone is great in the car or at home, where it’s safe to communicate with your other electronic devices. However, most of us forget to turn Bluetooth off when we go to public places, especially when we go on vacation. With your Bluetooth connectivity left open, anyone sitting in a hotel lobby or nearby coffee shop could pick up that signal and gain access to your phone. This can happen without your knowledge. The only way to avoid this threat is to turn this feature off when you don’t need it.
3. Use a VPN on public Wi-Fi
Public Wi-Fi is everywhere, and it could save you from exceeding your data limits. However, public Wi-Fi is inherently insecure. You’re relying on whoever set up the Wi-Fi hotspot and network to have taken security measures during installation. Worse, you could be logged on to a public network set up by a hacker who is just waiting to spy on and steal your information. A good way to secure your information on public Wi-Fi is to use a virtual private network, or VPN, like Norton WiFi Privacy. VPNs encrypt the data that enters and leaves your Wi-Fi connected device, encoding your sensitive information so eavesdroppers can’t read it.
4. Store smart devices in a hotel safe
Some hotel rooms have a safe for storing sensitive documents or important keepsakes while traveling. Use the safe to store any smart devices or tech you won’t need for the day: phones, laptops, USBs, external hard drives, or wearables. Don’t leave these things lying around your hotel room.
5. Don’t stress about security risks
The worst thing you can do while on vacation is obsess over your mobile security. It’s not fun, and it won’t be fun for the friends and family with you on your trip. Be sure to have reputable Internet security, such as Norton Security Deluxe or Norton Mobile Security, on your devices before you travel — and leave your device protection to the experts so you can enjoy your vacation without worry.